When I started trying to promote my own artwork online I kept coming across other people's art that amazed or compelled me in one way or another. This blog has been a way for me to practice thinking and writing about art, as well as learning more about my peers and all the incredible art that is being made out there.

Search for an Artist on this blog (or cut and paste from the list at the bottom of this page)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Paul Saari

Paul Saari is a Canadian Artist, from Ontario more specifically. His work has varied, and continues to vary, in terms of style and approach. But it keeps getting better. One thing that has remained relatively consistent are his themes; clearly focused on man's relationship to the environment. For quite some time he's been obsessed with occupying his images with tiny colorful cartoon houses that swirl in great tornado like masses or rise in strange swarms from the sea, as if to say that man's apparent control over his environment is pure illusion. The environment controls us and we, and all our works, are at its mercy (global warming may in the end prove the point more profoundly than we care to learn). Some of these are reminiscent of the work of Amy Casey (although her work suggests that mankind creates his own chaos). His best work uses a palpable sense of atmosphere to create a dramatic, almost narrative tension. But there is also a charming, almost comic quality to the images as well. When the serious drama and the light humor are in balance the work draws the viewer in with appealing and often riveting immediacy.
To see more go to his website: paulsaari.com

"The Edge of the Forest",  oil on canvas,  36" x 55"  2010

"The Ride Home",   oil on canvas,  55" x 45"  2010

"Rogue Wave" (study),   oil on canvas,  12 x 16"  2010

 "Moloch",  oil on canvas,  40 x 40"  2009

"Trickster",  oil on canvas,  63 x 40"   2008

"Clear-Cut",  oil on canvas,  20 x 24"  2006 

 I first Saw Mr. Saari's work on Eric Cator's much missed Paintblog

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Home and Family

For those of you in North America, have a happy Thanksgiving.
Here's a collection of works around the theme of home and/or family. I thought about doing food (and consumption!) but that's not the real point of the holiday.  These are all images previously posted on this blog. Click on the artist's' name to go to the original post. There you can find a link to their personal websites or galleries.
Enough said.

Amy Bennet  "Evening News" 8" x 10"

Amy Casey  "Stragglers" 21x22" 2008

Ben Grasso  title unknown 2006

Andrea Kowch  "Apple of my eye"

Clinton Snyder  "Willis"  66" x 55"  oil on scrap wood  2004 

Denis Ichitovkin   "Visiting grandmother"  83x72 cm  oil on canvas

Nancy Loughlin  "The Waiting Room"  48"x36"  oil on wood panel  2009

Peter Higgins  "Raboud Family and Gesture"  36x48"  acrylic on canvas

Stephen Cefalo   "The Kids (Family Portrait)"

Rob Evans  "Evening Ritual"  oil on panel (triptych)  40x90  1989

Monday, November 22, 2010

James Jean - update

Last Thursday's post of Vincent Hui's work reminded me of another artist with an amazing instinct for, and output of drawing. But looking back, my last post of James Jean's work was too brief and only featured two images. So here's more from a man who can't seem to stop himself. He teaches, does illustration work, fine art for galleries, book art, and fills journal after journal with exquisite drawings. In addition to a prodigious output, he works in variety of techniques. His painting is easily as captivating as his drawing, and whether he's working in a tight graphic style or loose and expressive, his work somehow always manages to convey the same feel, revealing the hand of a singular artist whose exuberance for image making expresses itself in a kind of free-form exposition of the subconscious. The subject matter in his work is the simply the artist's imagination. They are one and the same. And I for one would like to say, thanks for sharing.
There is a tremendous amount of stuff to look through on his website (www.jamesjean.com) and you can keep track of his latest on his blog.

"Dancers"  Acrylic on Wood Panels  12 x 24"  2010.

 "Dancers" detail

 You should be able to click on these images to view them larger:

"RIFT: Scull"   Graphite & Digital  11 x 56"  2009

"RIFT Procession"  Graphite & Digital  11 x 50"  2009

"Smile"  Acrylic on Wood Panels  12 x 24"  2010.

Here's an example page from one of his sketchbooks:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vincent Hui

Vincent Hui is was born and raised in Hong Kong and studied illustration at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena California. His website (www.hardsponge.com) and his blog (hardsponge.blogspot.com) contain no written information. No resume' or artist statement. No brief bio. And that's okay. Because what they do contain is paintings and drawings and more drawings and more drawing after that. The man draws. He draws a lot. And while there's plenty to be said for talent (and he has that too), unfettered enthusiasm and lots of practice up the ante considerably. What I like about his paintings is that they reflect his apparently free form spontaneous stream of consciousness approach to drawing. There seems to have been some kind of transition from 2007 to 2008, where the earlier work was much more traditionally illustrative, with clear narrative intention. But all that seems to change and the work from 2008 is not so much about something, as it is a glimpse into the mind a man who just can't help drawing (It reminds me quite a bit of the work of James Jean who I really, really need to do an update on). Unfortunately nothing more recent than 2008 that appears on the website. There's plenty of sketchbook work and a few more finished pieces on the blog.

"Estuary"  oil and pencil on panel  96" x 72"  2007-2008

"Holoplankton"  acrylic and pencil on paper  44.5" x 13.5"  2008   

"Nocturnal Emission"   acrylic and pencil on paper  18" x 13"  2007

"Kappa"  acrylic on paper  12.5" x 11.5"  2007  

"1986-1993"   acrylic on paper  9.8" x 9.5"   2007

Thanks once again to the folks at www.booooooom.com for introducing me to another amazing artist.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Scott Hunt

 Scott Hunts monochromatic drawings of a dysfunctional America are derived from found photographs gleaned from thrift stores and flea markets. The photographs, dissociated from their original owners, carry a certain degree of mystery, an unknown history. Mr. Hunt focuses on this notion of mystery and elaborates on it, recombining the found images or embellishing them to create new narratives of the American psyche.  Most of these photographs date from the 50s, 60s and 70s, decades that continue to define the growing rift in our moral and political philosophies. It is within the context of this loaded iconography that he crates imagery that is not so much ironic as disturbingly absurd, in much the same way that David Lynch has done in film. It is not surprising that he acknowledges the work David Lynch as an influence along with the writer Joyce Carol Oates and the cartoonist Charles Addams. While other visual artists are cited as well, the key element to his work is narrative. 
His website www.scotthuntstudio.com is currently just a link to his gallery's site (www.robertgoffgallery.com) but hopefully down the road will include a larger catalog of his dark, wry and disturbingly engaging images.

"Bash"  charcoal on paper  26.5" x 21"  2009

"Death and the Maiden (Musical Interlude)"  2007  charcoal on paper  36.25" x 42.75"

"And Red All Over"  2007  Charcoal on paper  33.1" x 41.37"

 "The Shaming"  2006  charcoal on paper

"The Spoils"  2008  charcoal on paper  32" x 35"

I first came across his work here at www.booooooom.com

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Robin F. Williams

Robin Williams is an artist with feet firmly planted in two eras. Her interest in technical mastery, of figurative realism, harks back to pre-modern times, but her aesthetic interests have as much to do with pop-art and surrealism as anything else. While not typical of what has become known as the pop-surrealist movement her work fits the bill better than many of the genre's practitioners who merely ride a certain stylistic trend. The combination of influences is also interesting in relationship to her subject matter which often pits childhood against adult conceptions. She plays on the ideas of conceptual art and asks if the very act of being a child is conceived of by the adult world as a kind of ongoing performance piece. And this in turn may imply that the pursuit of art in the current age is an extension of childhood.
Then again I could be way off base. But her images provoke such speculation, and the provocation of ideas has long been the hallmark of good art. By that measure at least, Robin F. Williams' work succeeds tremendously. See more at her website: www.robinwilliamsart.com

Monday, November 8, 2010

Henk Pander

Henk Pander grew up in Nazi occupied Holland, and some of the trauma of that time haunts his artistic vision to this day. Classically trained in Europe, he eventually found himself in Portland, Oregon in the 1960s and has been there ever since. The impact of war, catastrophe and horror are never far from his work although he does take the time to produce more calming still lives and portraiture. But even the still lives are often weighted with the themes of memory and loss. His palette occasionally borders on the lurid, giving some of the work a nightmarish dreamlike quality. His subject matter too strays into the realm of dream and surrealism as with his skeletal arrangements which he has revisited many times over the decades. What all of his painting have in common is that they are narratives of personal history. His depictions of war and of historical locations are not mere observations but portrayals of personal impact. When he paints scenes from real life the final painting is less about what he saw, than about what he remembers seeing and feeling. The difference can be subtle (or obvious) but it is key to understanding his work.

Most of his paintings, even his wonderful watercolors, are quite large and the impact in person can be  tremendous. He currently has a show of work hanging at Laura Russo Gallery in Portland, Oregon. If you're in the area I really recommend taking a look. He also shows at Davidson Gallery in Seattle, Washington.

"Fingers"  80" x 142"  oil on linen  2006

 "Shadows"  81" x 142"  oil on linen  2002-03

"Song of the Wild"  81" x 142"  oil on linen  2001

 "The Viaduct, Haarlem, 1944"  81" x 105"  1989-2004

This gives you an idea of scale -

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Scott Greene

(a quick note: I've altered the format of the blog a bit in order to post larger images. Unfortunately this messes up the formatting on some of the older posts. Hopefully it won't be too bad. If anyone has comments or suggestions, feel free.)

Scott Greene has been hard at work producing extraordinary images for more than two decades now. Almost from the beginning his surrealistic images have depicted modern technologies in unlikely juxtaposition with scenes of nature, history and myth. One gets the distinct sense that Mr. Greene is an astute observer of history and mythology, and one who believes its' lessons matter. By redeploying familiar artistic imagery generally associated with the musty past, and reconfiguring them with the jarring presence of satellite dishes and other technological paraphernalia, he aggressively attacks the notion that the messages conveyed to us from them have no significance for us in our modern era. And those messages are often ones of doleful warning. The tower of Babel and the expulsion from the garden of eden are biblical images he has evoked. From the age of exploration he borrows the image of a ship sailing off the edge of the world. He references Bosch and Breughel, renaissance artists noted for their depictions of hell. But all of this heady and dire material is served up with a kind of mocking humor, more ridicule and satire than angry diatribe.
He is enormously prolific and there is loads of work to look through on his website: www.scottmgreene.com

"Clear Channel"  18" x 22"  oil on canvas over panel  2004

"Oasis"  20" x 30"  oil on canvas  2010

"Ship Shape"  76" x 48"  oil on canvas  2010

"Machinations"  80" x144"  oil on canvas  2004-5

"Fool Me Once"  54" x 28"  oil on canvas  2004

I first came across his work through the website of his gallery in San Francisco: Catharine Clark Gallery

Monday, November 1, 2010

William Wray

William Wray's urban paintings have a quiet introspective appeal. (note: I originally referred to them as plein air, but Mr. Wray was kind enough to comment and the examples below are all studio paintings). His quick brushwork comes across as intuitive but spot on, a kind of impressionistic approach bordering at times on expressionism. Careful hue and value changes are deftly employed to depict both dramatic and subtle lighting. The technique is in service to the character of his scenes. These are places one only notices when alone, when the mind and eye can drift and one is reminded how odd it is to feel such emptiness in a city. It is in this almost narrative depiction of place that one can sense his illustration influences (J. C. Leyendecker, Dean Cornwell, Frank Brangwyn and N. C Wyeth are cited). In fact, the artist is also a very successful cartoonist who goes by Bill. That side of his professional career (which includes work on Ren and Stimpy, and Mad magazine) comes through a bit more in his figurative work which can be seen, along with much more of the urban landscapes, on his website: williamwray.com
and on his long running and active blog: williamwray.blogspot.com

"Rex" 32" x 24"

"Lincoln Heights Night"  12" x 16"

"New Car"  24" x 16"

"Target"  16" x 24"

title unknown